Glossary

Prescription Drugs

Choose Generic 

Why choose generic drugs? Generics give you the same results as brand-name drugs, except they cost less. Why?

Brand-name drugs have a patent, which means only their inventors can make and sell them. Initially, they're priced higher to cover expensive research, production, and marketing costs. By the time the patent expires and the drug becomes generic, the inventors have made their money back.

Because generics aren't patent-protected, they can be made and sold by more manufacturers. They don't have to pay to develop or advertise the drug since the inventors took care of that. They are paying only to produce the drug, so they can afford to set prices low.

generic vs brand

But what about the drug itself? The only difference is the cost and appearance – everything else is the same. Same effectiveness, same active ingredients.

Say you're shopping for jeans and the store has five different brands to choose from. They all look and fit the same, but each has a different price tag. Which one should you buy?

But don't worry – if the drug you need is not available in generic, you can always go with the brand-name drug. See how insurers cover prescription drugs by learning what a formulary is.

If you are still confused, just ask your doctor or pharmacist which drug you should take that works well and doesn't cost too much. It's like having a personal shopper!

Mail-order 

To save even more money, mail-order prescription drugs can be delivered to your home. It's cheaper and will save you a trip to the pharmacy. With mail-order, you can receive a 90-day supply of your medicine in the mail. Buying in bulk costs less than buying a monthly supply. It's like grocery shopping. A 10-pound bag of rice at a big-box store costs less than a 5-pound bag at your neighborhood grocery store. You also save because mail-order pharmacies don't have to pay to run a physical store.

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